Cameron MacMillan holds his Gator100 trophy.

MSE alum leads innovative online company

While the daily fantasy sports industry has boomed in recent years and sports betting has become legalized in as many as eight states already across the US, RotoGrinders.com has shown staying power as a trusted resource in the industry. Cameron MacMillan (BSAc ’07, MSE ’09), one of the website’s trio of co-founders, said the key to making that the case was first-mover advantage, heavy investment in technical development, and building a passionate, driven team.

Other websites have popped up since RotoGrinders.com began in 2010, but the sweat equity poured into the website at the beginning helped the website continually grow and expand as an industry leader in daily fantasy sports, and now, sports betting community tools and advice.

“Having first-mover advantage in the daily fantasy sports industry gave us momentum to expand rapidly as sports betting became legalized in the United States,” MacMillan said.

In the last year, RotoGrinders has acquired or invested in as many as six companies, aggressively expanding into new markets. Once just RotoGrinders.com, RotoGrinders has now formed The RG Network, which consists of RotoGrinders.com for Daily Fantasy Sports, SharpSide.com for Sports Betting, PocketFives.com for Online Poker, and FantasyInsiders.com for traditional season long fantasy sports. Additionally, RotoGrinders is heavily focused on USBets.com, a leading online magazine covering the rapidly expanding U.S. legalized sports betting industry.

RotoGrinders.com finished No. 3 in the 2017 Gator100 and No. 26 in the 2018 Gator100, which recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses in the world that are owned or led by UF graduates.

Today, the network of websites have well over 100 contractors and over 40 employees, but only around 20 are based out of Nashville. This has raised interesting management challenges for MacMillan and other company leadership.

While web developers and writers churn out articles and tools on different sports from over 10 states across the country, they’ve turned to tools like Slack to open constant communication channels. MacMillian estimates thousands of interactions on Slack every day between employees.

“There are a lot of new management tactics and communication methods involved in managing people remotely while keeping them motivated,” MacMillan said. I look forward to our new Release Demo Day every Friday, where our remote team gets together on a group call to show off all the recent releases everyone has been working on.”

One of MacMillan’s biggest concerns with the approach was how to keep writers engaged and passionate about what they were doing if they weren’t in the office to celebrate victories and stay up to date on the latest happenings within the company. They’ve combatted this through Google analytics, showing writers the impact they’re making and the number of people reading articles.

“I make an effort as a manager to reach out and show measurements they usually can’t see,” MacMillan said. “For a writer, they don’t get to interact with the customer on day-to-day basis. They don’t have that human interaction. Google analytics show impact to them. An article doesn’t seem like much, but analytics can show how many people their articles area reaching. Of course, the annual Super Bowl parties in Nashville that we fly most of the team in for as a celebration doesn’t hurt team camaraderie.”

Warrington’s Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program played an important role in preparing MacMillan for success.

“I learned more in one year of this master’s program than I did at any point in my other studies,” MacMillan said. “It allowed me to go all-in on taking the entrepreneurial leap, while giving me focused time to work on business plans.”

MacMillan’s experience in the MSE program set him up for success in his future career. To learn more about how you can experience the same benefits through a fully online program option.